After witnessing first-hand the devastation left behind in Dominica by Hurricane Maria, Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) Colonel Glyne Grannum is cautioning Barbadians to be prepared for the worse.
On Friday, a BDF team of 56, who took part in the final three-week Regional Security System-led mission for 2017, returned home to a rousing welcome from Colonel Grannum.
While thanking the officers for their commitment and dedication to assisting in the rebuilding efforts in the neighbouring Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, the BDF top official pointed out that many of them had sacrificed spending their Christmas holidays with family and friends.
“I warmly welcome you back to the shores of Barbados and back to the fold of the Barbados Defence Force,” he said.
“We look forward to standing together and being prepared for any adversity which may confront us in the future, whether it is here in Barbados or any of the islands that we are privileged to call our neighbours in the Caribbean,” he added.
Colonel Grannum said it was critical that Barbadians take hurricanes seriously and be adequately prepared.
“We in Barbados, we need to be ready. There is nothing that says we can’t be affected to the scale or worse than Dominica, so we need to take a particular consciousness, awareness and readiness to getting ready for severe weather systems like hurricanes,” he warned.
Several deaths were reported in Dominica following the monster hurricanes, which resulted in millions of dollars in damage to property. The BDF top official also cautioned that despite the good efforts of the regional troops and various international partners, the relief effort would be an ongoing one.
“While we would have cycled several detachments of Barbados Defence Force personnel and vessels back and forth, the international community was behind the relief effort. The main lesson learned at this stage from the last rotation is that we have to endure into the future and we have to continue to help Dominica. The troops may be back home safely with their families deservedly, but we need to continue to help Dominica in the months and I suspect in the years ahead,” said Colonel Grannum, who was full of praise for the media for painting what he said was a true picture of the devastation in Dominica.
During their trip, the Barbados team provided help to the stretched police force in Roseau, including in the areas of patrol, security and maintaining law and order.